Usually, New year’s day symbolizes a wonderful start and involves celebration. However, in this story, it was the start of discontent for the Balers. During this particular day, many people are killed and the power of the Balers continued to oppress the villagers, which is quite opposite of what we would’ve expected. 2. The protagonist, like the adults, had been cheated on and exploited by the Balers for quite a long time. The children got almost nothing for collecting all those great quantities of mushrooms, wayfarers, and herbs. Even the scales of justice were only there for exploiting the children.
In the same way, the adults were getting ridiculously low paid while they risked their lives and health, working relentlessly in the flax sheds for the Balers. The lakes placate the villagers by giving them tiny gifts such as lemon drops and real Brazilian coffee. However, these gifts were nothing compared to the injustice that had been imposed on them for five generations. When Franz Brusher discovered that they had all been cheated on, he crushed the lemon drops under his feet, calculated all the money they owe him, and mourned for the villagers.
The adults also displayed anger when they heard of this injustice. Like Franz Brusher, they rebelled against the Balers and tried to calculate all the money they should’ve gotten. The situation of the protagonist and the adults were quite similar. 4. The main theme is the injustice imposed by the powerful. In the story, the injustice played a great role in the development of the plot and the lives of the people. It caused the hardships and danger faced by many villagers. This injustice also caused the rebellion and death of many villagers in the end of the story.
The story is basically all around the injustice imposed by the Balers. Through the ominous tone and the tragic events caused by the unjust oppression by the Balers, we can infer that the author is against this injustice. The statement” everywhere the finger of justice swung falsely” indicates that the injustice is universal. The author not only wants to depict the hardships faced by people during that time in Europe, he also wants to make us understand the harsh truth that in many places, weak powerless people are under the mercy of the injustice of the powerful. The theme of this story is universal. Although the story only talks about the injustice occurring in the nineteenth and twentieth century of central Europe, similar forms of injustice is also occurring in all places at all times. Big multinational companies exploit the poor farmers in less developed countries, such as Africa and Latin America. Powerful countries have always been exploiting and colonizing the less powerful countries throughout history. People had always been oppressed under selfish kings and dictators.
Throughout history and the oral, the powerful are always exploiting the powerless and imposing injustice on them. Bonus: The song and the story are both about rebellion against an oppressive power. In the song, the people in charge are unjust and will kill them according to their decision. This is similar to the Balers forcing them to collect wayfarers and mushrooms under their system of injustice. In the song, they want a change, a new constitution, so that they won’t get fooled again. This is similar to the part in The Babble Scales when the villagers rise up against the Balers and steal their scales.